Chamber of Commerce discusses small town shopping

At its monthly luncheon on Tuesday, the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center featured talks by owners of two of Homer’s largest, locally owned businesses, Patrick Mede of Ulmer’s Drug & Hardware and Eric Engebretsen of Bay Welding.

Both spoke of the importance of shopping local and how local businesses can compete with large national and online corporations and keep money in the community.

Speaking at the Best Western Bidarka Inn, Mede, co-owner of Ulmer’s Drug & Hardware, said wherever possible Ulmer’s tries to buy local products and hire local contractors.

“This is the big thing about shopping local: profits,” Mede said. “They’re not exiting the community. We’re investing in the community.”

Engebretsen, general manager of the family-owned boat building company, said service is key to keeping customers buying lcoal.

“You don’t have a personal connection with where you’re buying,” he said of shopping outside of Homer. “That personal connection is key to the longterm success of our product.”